With crabs I usually just recommend waiting until you feel pressure (a pull) on the line, then reeling and lifting your tip to a 45 degree angle. As a bony, strong-smelling saltwater fish, it may be more trouble than pleasure to eat. He will often be running hard and going nuts jumping at this time, so be ready to bow when necessary. If you do get a bite, it will usually be a very hard smack and all you need to do is keep reeling fast and lift your tip up. FishingBooker is the world’s largest online service that enables you to find and book fishing trips. Unless you are about to get spooled you want to leave the drag medium to light when a fish is screaming out line and running hard. I have a much better catch ratio doing this than trying to ‘over drag’ the fish. Again I explain this all but being ready to do the right thing just makes things a bit easier. Tarpon are fish with a very keen awareness of their surroundings. This will also throw the mullet off balance making him easier to get for the tarpon, and when the tarpon comes back you will be able to reel and ‘get tight’ on him much quicker as you’ve gotten the slack out of the line. Snook fishing is explosive right now, this is do to the warm weather patterns we have had. Also, look for them on the flats. Tarpon are also called Silver King, Silver Sides or Sabalo (Spanish). Basically we don’t fish the drags locked down very tight at first because you are not going to stop a tarpon with drag alone. GUT some flounders, wash them clean, dry them in a cloth, just boil them, cut off the meat clean, from the bones, lay a good crust over the dish, and lay a little fresh butter at the bottom, and on that the fish; season with pepper and salt to your mind. There is a large population of Tarpon around the Channel Bridges, Tom’s Harbor, Seven Mile Bridge and Long Key. The ponds are connected by cut channels to the bay, and each is (largely) populated by redfish. If your fishing in a channel with rolling fish, simply tossing it out as far as you can and reeling it back at a steady pace usually works best. To get a good picture of a tarpon often it requires fighting them till they are exhausted completely. If the tarpon busts him and misses him (which they usually do), often you can just slowly and steadily lift your rod tip very high to straighten your line out, then drop your tip low again. I don’t fish this way personally very often though occasionally it is fun while we have other baits out to toss an artificial, or if you were sighting moving fish you could toss in front of them. These fish are typically between 75-120 pounds and are on their yearly migration north to… Summer time in Clearwater is the right time to target the silver king. Choppy water conditions you can get away with placing your fly closer to the fish. Now in some circumstances you may not feel pressure on the line, for instance if there is very weak tide or if there is any amount of slack in your line due to wind, tide, etc…  It helps if you as an angler are aware of this as in these cases you may have to just watch the bobber and if you see a bust and the bobber goes down, your bait has likely been eaten. Tarpon are a very slow growing fish, with adult females living over 50 years. Otherwise this ‘high sticking’ can result in a broken rod and lost fish. You don’t really need to give them a hard hookset in my experience, though if you want to the same rules apply – reel first and lift up your tip and once you are tight and the fish is screaming drag and you feel the heavy pressure give it a nice thump. Want more stuff like this? After ample time has passed I will usually tell you then to lift up your rod tip to a 45 degree angle, and give the fish one little thump to set the hook in a bit more. When a Tarpon becomes exhausted, it will usually roll on its side. Bow to the king when he jumps. If we are fishing circle hooks, you just want to keep your rod pointed directly at the fish with light drag when you get a bite – do not pull back on the fish or tighten your drag until told to do so. Although tarpon are a catch-and-release fishery in many locations, scientists at the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust argue that the species still faces many challenges from habitat loss, recreational harvest, and commercial or subsistence harvest in other countries. I’ve found with especially smaller tarpon, your best chance at landing these guys is to not lift up high on the rod at all. If they are swimming for something like this, we crank the drag down and just try to pull them to swim away. Are tarpons dangerous to humans? One important tactic is to use the rod to fight the fish. Again I don’t do much fishing in this fashion as it is usually more of a sight fishing thing for skinny water skiffs, though sometimes the opportunity presents itself. Usually you would be working a larger jig with a sharp hook and a jerk bait attached. In the beginning we usually chase after them and you are just going to be reeling up any slack line as we try to close distance on him. Set the hook. Though in all cases it is usually best NOT to do any crazy hook set – even with J hooks. These fish are typically between 75-120 pounds and are on their yearly migration north to spawn and find more comfortable water… Fluorocarbon Leader VS Fuorocarbon Line. Always try and keep the rod at a somewhat horizontal angle, especially when a fish is near the boat or directly under the boat. I say just pretend like you are a rod holder! I learned much about tarpon a long time ago in Florida. Let the fish run off a bit of line for a while, usually 30 seconds or so, and keep the rod pointed straight at him, if he his pulling drag just let him go – if he is not pulling drag then reel. They will swim along seemingly forever with strong kicks of their tail. They also are very powerful and when they jump they shake their heads violently. Lifting a Tarpon by the lip gaff may severely injure it, so don’t try lifting it from the water. Tarpons are a popular fish to catch during a backwater and near water fishing trip because they are often found in shallow, warm coastal waters and estuaries. Because the fish are so long-lived, damage to a population can have effects for decades. I generally like to fish J-hooks with live mullet as often the tarpon grab them at all kinds of different angles and the bait flips and flops all over, so you really need to be ready and set the hook appropriately. Now there are some things that can tell you when a fish will jump. It just happens a lot more with small size fish due to smaller mouths and they are much more acrobatic and violent when they jump. Captains For Clean Water. Tarpon have very hard, bony mouths. A smaller fish or very tired fish you may be able to manipulate, however a large or fresh fish will be trouble. The Marquesas Keys, since they’re uninhabited and not connected to Key West by road, have Tarpon in great numbers if you can get to them. Hooking tarpon on artificials is often much harder to do. Jack Bank (near Marathon) and Buchanan Bank (near Islamorada Key) are good places, as well. I will check baits at appropriate times, freshen them up, put new ones out, etc… when we need to. If you think a tarpon has eaten your bait, wait until you feel pressure (a pull) on the line. If you reel and you don’t feel a significant amount of pressure – stop reeling – as your bait likely just pulled the bobber down and the tarpon may go after it again. They are ready to engulf the entrails being … For pictures we try to lay the fish alongside the boat in the water from the bow, wearing gloves and taking wraps on the leader. Tarpon fish (Megalops atlanticus) are plentiful, and yet they are heavily regulated in Florida because they don’t really have any culinary value. As stated the tarpon will generally set the hook on themselves if the rods are in the rod holders – if you get one on, you just pick the rod up and keep your tip at a 45 degree angle and reel. Catch a tarpon while your fish are being cleaned One of the best places to catch a tarpon is under the fish cleaning table when the days catch is being filleted. Boca Grande is the most famous Tarpon fishing location in the world. Often we fish a variety of  dead baits for tarpon. You often won’t see any indication you are about to get a bite, you’ll just feel a strong bump or two and then the line will start screaming. Using your short lip gaff, push it through the Tarpon’s lower lip and the fish will need to be held while another person takes the hook from its mouth or clips the hook’s leader as close as possible. Tarpon are catch and release only in the state of Florida. If the fish jumps you want to bow to him. Again braided line has NO stretch so it is imperative you give them slack when they jump. If you are not getting bites, sometimes trying to work the bait more erratically (jigging) it may help, or even trying to reel it as fast as you can sometimes can entice a bite too. The mighty tarpon and the “trash fish” are two (technically, three) infamous species that are regarded for the distasteful, smelly, and potentially hazardous experience they present when considering whether to bring your catch to the dinner table or not. We give chase to tarpon for this reason. If you keep lots of pressure on the fish and he runs you will break him off OR break the rod. These rods have light action tips with a stiff backbone which helps in hooking tarpon as well as keeping them on when they jump, plus giving you enough backbone to put ample pressure on them. Depending on the apparent size of the tarpon, speed of the current, and other conditions I may change my hook style. When a fish is near the boat or under the boat, you DO NOT want to stick your rod tip up high. Each day they fished they caught numerous tarpon in the 50-to 100-plus pound range, with at least one 150-pounder hooked, jumped and lost. Now, let’s talk about tarpon. Tarpon are rarely eaten because their flesh is filled with small, hard to clean bones. You really just want to leave the baits out there, leaving some slack in the line as we often are swinging around especially if the tide/wind are not together. We do put a long topshot of mono on the end, however even so when the fish jumps and shakes like this it can cause a problem. Generally if he goes through or around something, you want to LESSEN the drag on them. This will give you the best chance at keeping these smaller fish hooked. On a day that they were purely targeting tarpon, the Saltwater Experience hosts would tend to go somewhere a little more remote. And set it … HOWEVER do remember off the bow, often the trolling motor is down in the water, so you must wait until I lift that up out of the way to go around to the other side. While present near the Keys year-round, peak season runs from mid-March and until mid-July. The Bahia Honda Bridge is a disused bridge that used to connect Bahia Honda Key with Spanish Harbor. Next, we’ll look at which bait to use, as well as how to hook and land them properly. So if your drag is tight loosen it a bit until we are able to get around the object. ... Monday Fish Pics (53 Colorful Images for the Start of the Week) Hot . In this short guide, I’ll teach you the basics of Tarpon fishing in Florida. When a fish is near the boat or under the boat, you DO NOT want to stick your rod tip up high. One thing to always keep an eye on is your rod tips – especially with slow moving tide – make sure that you don’t get ‘tip wrapped’ where the lines wraps around the tip of your rod. And for the first few minutes, I would really recommend just keeping it pointed straight at them. Believe me you will know when you get a bite. Tarpon’s preferred water temperature is in the 74-88 degrees Fahrenheit range. We fish them medium/medium light, just enough to get a good hookset, and then let the fish do his thing. Labadie chose this spot because he knew the fish would be there, but, more importantly, it was on the way to their other targets, eliminating the need to backtrack later and burn up precious time. I like to start with the drags fairly loose and then slowly tighten as needed once the fish settles down. You will feel the pressure in the rod and line increase when you are pulling the right direction against the fish. This is a brief synopsis of how you should hook and fight a tarpon. Wrong! You will not stop a tarpon with drag you have to apply pressure at the right time, at the right angle, and let the fish wear himself out as you do so. Let’s take a look at when and where you can hook these monsters. When the fish is back in the water, lift your tip back to a 45 degree angle and reel tight again. Basically you are going to be pumping the rod up, and then reeling as you drop the rod tip back down towards them. Basically we are usually fishing a bobber with a 6-8 foot leader with a mullet on the end. People are allowed to temporarily possess a tarpon for photography, measurement of length and girth and scientific sampling, with the stipulation that tarpon more than 40 inches must remain in the water. Generally speaking, tarpons are wary of humans and tend to spook easily. down in the water, and try to avoid having the line rub on the boat as much as possible. They do often roam and bite in packs. At first you are just picking up slack line as we chase the fish, once he settles down we will put more pressure on him as needed. Doing our best to prevent hooked Tarpon from being eaten by sharks allows us … tarpon. How to Create an Exceptional WordPress Website to Boost Sales? If you can’t tell which way the fish is going, just switch up the direction you are pulling from every 20 seconds or so. Tarpon fishing in Puerto Rico is truly of the world's great fisheries, and I’m already looking forward to my next visit. Do not cut deeply — just through the skin is … After you come tight you can give a small thump to set the hook. Welcome to South Florida Reporter, your go-to source for news and information for the Sunshine State. This prevents him from easily being able to shake his head and throw the hook. In particular, Government Cut (between Miami Beach and Fisher Island) and Port Everglades, from January to June. If we have already gotten good pictures of a previous fish, we usually just cut them off once we get close enough to the main leader to do so, this way we do not unnecessarily stress or harm the fish. Certain times of year (especially in the summer) we have a lot of smaller-on-average size tarpon around. I try to maneuver the boat and keep the fish off the bow, though at times I may not be at the wheel or the fish may make a sneaky move. This way when the fish feels the added pressure you can quickly let off if he kicks hard, runs, jumps, goes crazy, etc…. Again I only recommend doing this at the END of a battle once we’ve gotten the leader and you are satisfied with having caught the fish to this point. That’s mostly because their flesh is filled with tiny, difficult-to-clean bones, and it is also said to have an unpleasant odor. Docks are holding big fish and schooling fish, … Although tarpon is fun to catch, they are not considered to be worth eating. Don’t just stand there and pull straight up the whole time. First, I’ll show you where to look for them, and at what time of year. S14:E2 - “Captains For Clean Water” (2019) Daniel Andrews of Captains for Clean Water discusses the state of the Everglades. A few other things to remember, if the fish goes under the boat, always stick the rod tip (not reel!) With live crabs they are much easier to eat then mullet so it is a lot easier to get a proper hookset as the crab isn’t actively trying to swim/jump away from the tarpon. This takes the pressure out of the backbone of the rod and puts it up near the tip. Snook and Tarpon enjoy clean warm water Capt. This will obviously cause it to snap if something grabs the bait and runs off line quickly like a tarpon. Nothing crazy required – we are not trying to rip the lips off a bass – just one nice steady thump. Large fish like Tarpon, require a little larger offering. Also if you are the person not fighting the fish be aware of what is going on in the boat. We use multiple different tactics and I’ll try to cover at least the ones we use most of the time. Because of this, we try our very best to ensure a quick, clean release so the fish has the best chance of survival. by rjahqsgu-ca 13.6k Views. If your not paying attention a tarpon is going to use that to his advantage, and your hook up will be over as quick as it started. After COVID-19, Many Businesses Still Struggle to Pay Rent – Is Bankruptcy A Solution? Tom & Rich fish the Lower Florida Keys for tarpon and find the jackpot. First off we use specifically designed rods for tarpon fishing. Using a short lip gaff, pass it through the fish’s lower lip and the fish will be held while someone removes the hook or clips the leader as close to it as possible. Is tarpon a good fish to eat? From what I’ve heard they are very bony, oily, and taste like soap. Nov 25, 2018. Sometimes the fish swim in between structure that we cannot unfortunately get through, especially some of the bridge pilings or power line structures. If your seeing lots of fish roll, waiting and throwing in front of rolling fish can be effective, though often you will not necessarily have that opportunity. In the United States, the tarpon usually is caught for sport — and then released. If it is a smaller fish that we do not have to chance, we usually leave one other bait out to try and possibly hook another. This is often a mistake of many anglers – they think when a fish is running hard and taking line you should hammer the drag down very tight to stop him. Most of the time you will see the mullet get nervous and zip around quickly if a tarpon is nearby. When tarpon or any other fish are near the boat, anglers will put the tip of their rods way up high in the air, as if they are going to try and lift the fishes head out of the water or some such thing. It’s well known for its acrobatics on the end of a line and capable of jumping up to ten feet out of the water while rattling its gills like an angry diamondback snake. Tarpon … Fish are caught all year, with peak season from March to July, during the receding tide. Tarpon often swim around structure such as bridge pilings, crab pots, channel markers, and other things. Frequently fish station near anchored shrimp trawlers that clean their catch and drop overboard shrimp heads and by-catch small baitfish, which in turn attract scores of feeding tarpon. Usually (not always) you have to go UP AROUND THE BOW to get to the other side and continue fighting the fish, as going around the transom is often difficult with the motor sticking out. When you do this be ready for the fish to surge and possibly jump, as they feel this extra pressure and often panic. You need to keep your eyes out and on the fish (or at least where you think the fish is), this way you can see when he runs and is going to jump, if he is going to swim around that lobster buoy, if he is going under the boat, if he is going around that bridge piling, etc, etc…. In some cases we may not fish a bobber at all, though it won’t really effect what you do to hook your fish. Sometimes you may be trying to take pictures etc… but also try to be aware of what is going on around you. Tip 10: Never have your fly moving towards the fish. Once he settles down usually after this first 5-10 minutes, we tighten the drag down a little bit. rick@islamoradatarpon.com, , Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window), Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window), 9/26/2020 End of September tarpon fishing in the Florida Keys, 9/3/2020 Early September Tarpon fishing in the Florida Keys, 8/27/2020 Late August Tarpon Fishing in the Florida Keys. Tarpon Tackle: As a fulltime Tampa Bay tarpon fishing guide for the last 20 years, I feel like I have tried just about every rod and real combination under the sun. A typical morning of Tarpon Fishing Clearwater FL begins with locating the right bait. If the fish is very green and pulling hard, it may also be a good idea to back off on the drag some. If we are anchored we unhitch our anchor buoy from the boat and throw it in the water and give chase as quickly as possible on a big fish. However many anglers seem to constantly want to reel or tug on the lines, check the baits, and do all sorts of things that hinder are chances at getting a bite. A lot of times you do not really need to put a lot of pressure on these size fish, and if you do all that is going to happen is they are going to throw the hook or the hook will pull out! Just wait for him to come back. Capt. Tarpon can be a very technical fish to catch, but a few general tactical pointers can go a long way. If you end up having to fight them for more than a few minutes, I suggest keeping the rod butt in your armpit, and just pulling lightly with the tip of the rod, no more than at a 45 degree angle. Apalachicola Bay is a good spot, from June and throughout the entire summer. Now you can tighten the drag down more if it is getting to be a very long time, however if the fish surges or jumps there is greater chance at losing him with tighter drag especially if they jump and you are not quick to bow. As a bony, strong-smelling saltwater fish, it may be more trouble than pleasure to eat. After you get tight on the fish, giving one good thump to set the hook is usually a good idea. If you just jerk right away, often the hook will bounce right off the bony jaw. For this reason, we tell you to stop reeling and bow (point the rod at the fish) as this takes the pressure off the hook and line. Tip 9: Calm flat water calls for fly placement farther away from the tarpon. Rick Stanczyk The waters surrounding it are full of Tarpon. Otherwise you are just going to either break him off, or have him throw the hook when he starts jumping and going crazy. In this case just reel until you get tight on the fish and proceed to set the hook as described. Also, Tarpon fishing gear is limited to hook and line only. Slit up the center of the trout's belly in a straight line. It is VERY important to REEL first as that is going to start the hook to set in his bony jaw. I generally always recommend anglers hold their rods however, and only leave them in the rod holders if you are busy doing something else and it is necessary. 20.1k Views. These fish range anywhere from 60 to 200 pounds. Although found throughout Florida’s Atlantic coast, ports and inlets south of Biscayne Bay offer the best Tarpon fishing. If we are fishing J-hooks, I like to fish them the same way as circles keep the rod pointed straight towards the fish in the beginning and just reel, but you don’t have to wait 30 seconds to lift your tip up, you can do that a little bit sooner after you’ve reeled and gotten tight on your fish in that case. In most cases the tarpon will see the shadow of your fly line and spook. Remember to bow to the king when he jumps! That was nice! The key to tarpon fishing is keeping your presentation as natural as possible. We were going to work in one of the ponds used for cleaning the redfish waters and fish for Tarpon. Get the best fishy photos, videos, and stories straight into your inbox! Be VERY CAREFUL doing this, if the fish kicks hard and runs or bucks at all, just let off and let him go. FishingBooker, excerpt posted on SouthFloridaReporter.com, Jan. 4, 2021. 10 facts about the tarpon fish. I use scissors which are very easy for cleaning and gutting fish. One thing I see very often and am always cringing over is what we call high sticking. May through late July are the best months here, with the exception of Key West Harbor which is full of feeding Tarpon January through March. Depending on the water temperature, they … Sometimes we use artificial stuff for tarpon too. If you see this happen just sit tight and be ready – dont do anything to soon. It may be counter-intuitive as many fish you always want to keep the line tight, though with tarpon when they jump this is not the case. ... small bones that are hard to clean out for eating. Tarpon are rarely eaten because their flesh is filled with small, hard to clean bones. We often are still using the same gear that we fish for larger tarpon with, but obviously it is a bit heavier than you’d like to use for small tarpon. © Copyright 2015-2020 - South Florida Reporter. Most of the fight the fish is going to be within 30 feet of the boat. The Sandy Key and Rabbit Key Basins along with the canals at Lake Ingraham and river mouths of Lostman’s and Harney rivers. If you feel them thrash, surge, run, or give any indication they may be getting ready to jump, just point the rod straight at them ahead of time in anticipation. This means there should be no bend in the rod at all as the fish is pulling out line. Usually once we get the main leader on the fish and he is technically caught, we will then increase the drag and I will start pulling on the wind-on leader to try and subdue the fish in an attempt to get good boat side photographs. Feb 1, 2019. Both myself and the angler may have to jump around the boat very quickly, so try not to be blocking where we need to go. If a fish is going near something like this you really just have to keep an eye out and watch what he does. Tarpon’s preferred water temperature is in the 74-88 degrees Fahrenheit range. Simply blind casting and keeping an eye out for rollers is usually best. The anglers in the group fishing bait enjoyed truly amazing fishing. All too often anglers start reeling, jerking, and all kinds of things before the fish has had a chance to eat the bait. They also are not designed to be lifted out of the water by their gills, or handled as that knocks a lot of the slime off of them which is not good. You don’t eat Tarpon. If one is actively trying to eat him he will often jump and flip out of the water. When this happens the tarpon has eaten him – reel as fast as you can and lift your rod tip up to a 45 degree angle. Tarpon are unforgiving about throwing the hook when jumping, and that is especially true with smaller tarpon. Florida Weather Will Still Be Cool Monday. You can try to pull them away from it, though generally your not going to be able to stop them. As a bony, strong-smelling saltwater fish, it may be more trouble than pleasure to eat. Now once you’ve reeled, the line is tight and the fish is pulling drag (lots of pressure), you may give it a thump to set the hook. I walk all my anglers through a lot of this stuff, however if you read about it ahead of time it will give you an upper hand. The Tarpon (Megalops atlanticus) is among the most popular game fish in Florida. The best locations are Key West Harbor, Bahia Honda Bridge and Marquesas Keys. Though you can’t always pick which one is going to bite so you have to be ready for the bigger ones in my opinion. Try to NEVER let the line hit the boat as this weakens the line and can result in a lost fish. During springtime, Tarpon are mostly on the Florida Bay side, but as the year progresses, they start moving to the Atlantic side. Often the best thing to do is to manually add drag to them with the palm of your hand on the spool (spinning rod) or thumb on the spool (conventional tackle). Jan 4, 2019. These fish are fully equipped with great night vision, with big eyes that can see really well in the dark. Same rules apply when the tarpon jumps, bow the rod to him. Using their swimming bladders, tarpons can breathe, something that most other fish do only for buoyancy. This takes the pressure off the line while it is rubbing against the structure and it will be less likely to frey and break. If you want to enjoy the tarpon's stamina, fight and jumps then set the hook. The Tarpon (Megalops atlanticus) is among the most popular game fish in ... hard to clean bones. In the United States, the tarpon usually is caught for sport — and then released. Bowing means drop the rod tip and point it straight at him (give him some slack). Nobody is eating tarpon because they have a strong taste and smell, and they’re difficult to clean because they have so many bones. Tarpon are a game fish … It takes some time to really nail this down but I will give you some pointers to help you out as we go along.